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19/05/2018 11:00

MA Degree Ceremony

Deadline: 30/04/2018

Six years and one term after matriculating (five years and one term for affiliated students), a Bachelor of Arts is entitled to take his or her Master of Arts degree, either in person or in absence, provided that two years have elapsed since the BA degree was awarded. So, from January 2018 those who matriculated in October 2011 and graduated with the BA degree prior to December 2015 will be eligible.

The Student Services Officer, on behalf of the Praelector, will email all those who become eligible each year in January or February and invite them to attend the Congregation in May held in the Senate House. Although the degree may be conferred at any Congregation, the May Congregation is traditionally the occasion when Johnians return to Cambridge for the event. The MA Dinner in Hall, organised by the Development Office (all queries should be directed to them), is arranged on the Friday evening prior to the ceremony on the Saturday. There will be a buffet lunch on the Saturday for those taking their MA degree in person to which graduands may bring one guest (we regret that we cannot allow you to bring any extra guests due to limited space). A maximum of three guests per graduand are invited to attend the Ceremony and admission to the Senate House will only be given to those with a valid ticket.

How to register for the MA Congregation

*It will be possible to register for the 19 May 2018 congregation from January 2018*

Please read all the following information carefully to avoid missing anything important!

If you wish to put your name forward to receive your degree at the MA Congregation you will need to read the Congregations Information which includes academic dress information, and then register for the congregation by accessing your Extended Self-Service account on CamSIS. You can register and access ESS here: (there is a link to the right of the page). You might not be able to register for a congregation that is a few months away and it will need to be done closer to the time.

Once you have logged in, you will be able to directly register for a congregation yourself. It is vital that you update your contact details before submitting your application. You will need to update the following information:

E-Mail Address: You will most likely be contacted at some point before the ceremony (make sure your preferred one is marked as such)
Phone Number: In case of emergency (make sure your preferred one is marked as such)
Address: Please update your mailing address, which we will send correspondence to at any point up until the time of the ceremony,  including your tickets and confirmation letter.
Name: Please check the spelling of your name carefully, as this will appear on your degree certificate. If it is incorrect please change this and notify the Student Services Officer.

You will then receive the confirmation letter and any required tickets by post after the deadline has passed for the congregation you are registering for (usually three weeks before the ceremony). If you do not receive such a letter by two weeks prior to the Congregation, please contact the Student Services Officer. 

Please note that applications received after the College's deadline date will not be accepted.

Each Congregation generally follows the same pattern although the precise timing of events depends on the actual numbers of graduands to be presented by each College. Please contact the Student Services Officer (; 01223 338 699) if you have any queries.

Congregation dates may be subject to change. It is advisable not to make travel arrangements until you have received confirmation of your place at a ceremony from the Praelector.

Please note:

  • You are reminded that the College does not allow those with outstanding College bills to proceed to a degree and it is your responsibility to ensure that any outstanding debts are paid 5 days prior to the Congregation.
  • The dates and timings of Congregations can occasionally be subject to change by the University. It is therefore advisable that you wait until you receive confirmation of your place at a Congregation or contact the Praelector's Secretary before making travel or accommodation arrangements.

The main Graduation page gives general information about Congregations and matters relating to the presentation of graduands for their degrees.

What to wear

Please check the Academical Dress web page for more information. Please note that it is important that you order your gowns and hoods well in advance. If you are still unsure after visting this page please check the FAQ page.

Please note you will not be allowed to take any belongings or bags into the Senate House. You are therefore advised to leave your belongings with your guests before arriving at the Fisher Building.


As the ceremony will be taking place in Full Term, we are not able to offer accommodation but can provide a list of local hotels and bed and breakfasts on request.

Timetable of events

Please note that timings of the actual ceremony are likely to be subject to delay with little notice, due to the large numbers involved.  We advise that you be aware of such possible delays when making your arrangements.


Invitation email sent to eligible alumni




Application form deadline

Mid-April (see Congregation Dates on main Congregation page)

Friday (night before MA Ceremony)

MA Dinner in Hall

19:30 prompt

Saturday (MA Ceremony)

Car Parking: available on College Playing Fields

(Cars left at owners risk)


Registration and procession assembles: Central Hall, Divinity School

09:00 prompt – Graduands should be dressed ready for the ceremony

Procession leaves for the Senate House: outside Divinity School


Congregation at the Senate House

Guests should arrive at the Senate House by



MA Buffet Lunch: in First Court (one guest permitted per graduand)


Entitlements and privileges

  • The MA degree confers on you the University right of Membership of the Senate, which enables you, for example, to borrow books from the University Library.
  • As a member of the College of more than six years' standing (five in the case of Affiliated Students), whether you take your MA degree or not, you now have the privilege of dining up to three times a year at the Fellows' Table, at College expense. If you wish to exercise your dining privileges, please contact the Steward's Secretary (tel: 01223 338686).
  • Every seven or eight years you will be invited to a Johnian Dinner in College, along with others in your year of admission to St John's, and two or three other year groups.
  • You will continue to receive copies of The Eagle, Johnian News and Johnian eNews free of charge to help you keep in touch with the College and your contemporaries. Please ensure you keep the College informed of any change in your contact details.
  • Please see the information from the Careers Service attached below.